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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cut The Crap--Get Us Health Care We Can Afford

Because I have the often mentioned, little understood "pre-existing condition," having had leukemia and a successful bone marrow transplant, I can only get health insurance through one insurer, Blue Cross. I cannot be a part of my family's policy, which would save us nearly $5000 a year in premiums, nor can I add them to my policy. My wife and children have a separate policy with American Community, who today doubled our premiums after a "review" of our policy. Translation: Either my wife or my kids went to the doctor last year, and may even had a prescription or two. Consequently we have what amounts an additional monthly mortgage payment to pay for health care. Even at that the co-pays are usurious. I-we-us--can't afford it. Period. Who can?

Now, because of the results of a special election in a distant state from mine, we're being told that the Obama health care plan is dead. I won't bore with you with the odious facts surrounding this country and our lack of a national health care plan; let's just say that we can't get out of our own way because of a ridiculous ideology.

The Massachusetts Senate race and its consequences crystallizes the problem: Debate is only about personality and the insipid left/right extremes of ideology; ideology wins, the media calls it "voter reaction to the present situation," and health care dies. Again and again, nothing gets done--we're the losers, time and again. Ideology is pointless; change the system.

The Republican candidate in Massachusetts, Scott Brown, wooed the Teabag/Libertarian crowd with the standard talk about "getting government off our backs." To what end? So these insurance companies can crawl further up our ass? I mean, where's ANY upside for us, the people in all of this pointless rhetoric?

Apologies for the scatological vocabulary, but I'm very angry, and feel insignificant and used. The mood of these times. I'll entertain electing anyone who can get something done. Probably what the Italians said before electing Mussolini, but here we are.

The populist refrain of "Throw the bums out and get new blood" holds no water these days. We see with the Kennedy seat that it's either continued status quo or the other extreme. So as an electorate we just bounce from pole to pole depending upon results, and nothing gets done.

Don't like the left? Vote the right in, with predictable results. Don't like the right, vote the left in. There's only an eyelash difference between them anyway, and the result is no results for us. They personally become enriched or empowered, as do the coterie of people who funded their election, who are usually already wealthy.

But we get stuck holding the bag. Health insurance, mortgages, credit, property insurance...it's getting very difficult to survive in this system. All of these libertarian tax zealots vote the likes of Scott Brown into the Senate because they're worried about taxes...that's the least of our worries. They never consider living with the alternative, which is not easy. For industrialized countries, we're among the least taxed, with the most services.

At least when I pay my taxes, I'm getting something for my dollars, or my fellow brothers & sisters are getting assistance, social programs or educations. Same cannot be said of my interactions with insurance companies, mortgage companies, phone companies, ad nauseum.

All the people in Congress are worried about media portrayal, so they posture. Mostly they're worried about maintaining power and influence, which they use in a frivolous game of Congressional pecking order. Stay in office, stay connected, keep the gravy train rollin'.

The health care question and process is surely complex, detailed, difficult and politically (and socially) combustible. But it's also very simple if we act from a philosophical--not ideological--point of view. And that begins with health care as an earned right upon birth.

After that, it's just about political will. Period. The Obama administration has thus far shown little political will outside of getting elected. Bring that same understanding of the time, place and people to the job. Just cut the crap and get it done. We're all dyin' on the vine out here. We need a simple, affordable health care plan. We can afford wars, both covert and semi-declared. We can afford bailouts for enormous and enormously corrupt corporations. Cut the ideological crap and give us a health care plan we can afford.

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